19 Aug 2023

National MP Michael Woodhouse announces departure from politics after low list ranking

6:55 pm on 19 August 2023
MP Michael Woodhouse, left, and Christopher Luxon.

MP Michael Woodhouse, left, and Christopher Luxon. Photo: RNZ

Long-serving National MP Michael Woodhouse has announced his surprise "departure from political life" after being unhappy with his ranking in the party's election-year line-up.

National leader Christopher Luxon announced the party's updated list on Saturday afternoon with the top 15 spots mostly unchanged since his caucus reshuffle in January.

But Woodhouse, previously ranked at 16, was notably absent from the list altogether.

In a post on Facebook, Woodhouse said he had withdrawn his name after learning where he would have been ranked.

"It was clear from the ranking offered that I was not part of the leadership's thinking regarding ministerial positions, so I feel the best thing to do is to stand aside and allow a fresher face into the Caucus from the list.

"I do so somewhat sad about the process of my departure from political life but overwhelmingly grateful to have been able to serve the people in the party I love for the past 15 years."

Talking to reporters in Wellington, Luxon said he had spoken directly with Woodhouse this afternoon.

"He made it very clear to me that he wanted to withdraw from the list," Luxon said. "I fully respect his decision to do that."

National Party MP Michael Woodhouse contributes to Parliament's Standing Orders Committee consideration as they hear evidence on the 2023 Review of Standing Orders.

National Party MP Michael Woodhouse contributes to Parliament's Standing Orders Committee consideration as they hear evidence on the 2023 Review of Standing Orders. Photo: VNP / Phil Smith

Luxon refused to reveal what ranking Woodhouse was offered, or whether he was right in assuming he would not have been a minister.

"I'll make a decision about Cabinet on the other side of the election. You'll have to wait for that."

Luxon also paid tribute to Woodhouse's "fantastic" contribution to the party and Parliament.

"I wish him really well... he has done it all in his political career over 15 years ... he's been a senior minister in the Key and English governments holding really important portfolios, and he's played a really important role in our team in opposition."

Woodhouse - a list MP - will continue to contest the Dunedin electorate, but he is not expected to beat Labour candidate Rachel Brooking.

The Dunedin seat and its previous iteration Dunedin North has been in Labour hands since 1928, barring one term in 1975.

In 2020, Labour's David Clark got 53.7 percent of the vote in that electorate, compared to Woodhouse's 19.2 percent.

Scott Simpson and Stuart Smith, previously ranked 18 and 19 in caucus, have plummeted to 55 and 56, but both are likely to hold on to their seats of Coromandel and Kaikōura respectively.

Tauranga MP Sam Uffindell, who has courted controversy since entering Parliament in a by-election last year, is ranked 57.

There are 21 women and 19 men in National's top 40.

First term MPs Penny Simmonds, Simon Watts and Nicola Grigg are ranked at 16, 17, and 19. National senior whip Chris Penk is ranked 18.

Nancy Lu, a chartered accountant, is the highest ranked non-MP at 20, followed by farmer Suze Redmayne, transport manager Katie Nimon and marketing executive Catherine Wedd.

Luxon told reporters he was very happy with gender and ethnic diversity achieved in the party's list.

"I want to make sure that we encourage the National Party to embrace more diversity. We didn't get that in the 2020 election given it was a such a poor result.

"It's very important to me that we have diversity, I think we build a stronger party."

The latest polling suggests National is on track to bring in about 44 MPs.

National is the last major party to publish its list, following Labour, the Greens and Act.

National Party list 2023

1. Christopher Luxon - Botany

2. Nicola Willis - Ōhāriu

3. Chris Bishop - Hutt South

4. Shane Reti - Whangārei

5. Paul Goldsmith - Epsom

6. Louise Upston - Taupō

7. Erica Stanford - East Coast Bays

8. Matt Doocey - Waimakariri

9. Simeon Brown - Pakuranga

10. Judith Collins - Papakura

11. Mark Mitchell - Whangaparāoa

12. Todd McClay - Rotorua

13. Melissa Lee - Mt Albert

14. Gerry Brownlee - List

15. Andrew Bayly - Port Waikato

16. Penny Simmonds - Invercargill

17. Simon Watts - North Shore

18. Chris Penk - Kaipara ki Mahurangi

19. Nicola Grigg - Selwyn

20. Nancy Lu - List

21. Suze Redmayne - Rangitīkei

22. Katie Nimon - Napier

23. Catherine Wedd - Tukituki

24. Tama Potaka - Hamilton West

25. Agnes Loheni - List

26. Maureen Pugh - West Coast-Tasman

27. Emma Chatterton - Remutaka

28. James Christmas - List

29. Dale Stephens - Christchurch Central

30. Siva Kilari - Manurewa

31. Harete Hipango - Te Tai Hauāuru

32. Rosemary Bourke - Māngere

33. Frances Hughes - Mana

34. Paulo Garcia - New Lynn

35. Blair Cameron - Nelson

36. Barbara Kuriger - Taranaki-King Country

37. Tracy Summerfield - Wigram

38. Hinurewa te Hau - Tāmaki Makaurau

39. Angee Nicholas - Te Atatū

40. Vanessa Weenink - Banks Peninsula

41. Rima Nakhle - Takanini

42. Ruby Schaumkel - Kelston

43. Mahesh Muralidhar - Auckland Central

44. Dana Kirkpatrick - East Coast

45. Scott Sheeran - Wellington Central

46. Navtej Singh Randhawa - Panmure-Ōtāhuhu

47. Carl Bates - Whanganui

48. Carlos Cheung - Mt Roskill

49. Matthew French - Taieri

50. Matt Stock - Christchurch East

51. Karunā Muthu - Rongotai

52. Ankit Bansal - Palmerston North

53. Joseph Mooney - Southland

54. Simon O'Connor - Tāmaki

55. Scott Simpson - Coromandel

56. Stuart Smith - Kaikōura

57. Sam Uffindell - Tauranga

58. Tim van de Molen - Waikato

59. Miles Anderson - Waitaki

60. Dan Bidois - Northcote

61. Mike Butterick - Wairarapa

62. Cameron Brewer - Upper Harbour

63. Hamish Campbell - Ilam

64. Tim Costley - Ōtaki

65. Greg Fleming - Maungakiekie

66. Ryan Hamilton - Hamilton East

67. David MacLeod - New Plymouth

68. Grant McCallum - Northland

69. James Meager - Rangitata

70. Tom Rutherford - Bay of Plenty

71. Felicity Foy - List

72. Janelle Hocking - List

73. Kesh Naidoo-Rauf - List

74. Senthuran Arulanantham - List

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